Cabinet can decide on wage board: Apex court

Cabinet can decide on wage board: Apex court

A bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Misra refused to allow a plea of different newspaper managements to restrain the Union Cabinet from going ahead to issue a notification on it.

“Once the matter is referred to the Cabinet, propriety demands that the Cabinet should be allowed to take a decision. We would not like to pre-empt. But any decision would be subject to the final outcome of the case,” the Bench made it clear.

The court on September 21 also turned down a similar plea of different newspaper organisations, which had challenged the Wage Board’s recommendation, fixing salaries and emoluments of the journalists and non-journalists.

Senior counsel K K Venugopal and P P Rao, appearing for newspaper organisations, alleged that the government had “manipulated” the constitution of Wage Board by failing to appoint three independent members.

“They want to make newspapers subservient to their interests. This is no wage board in the eyes of law. They had ignored electronic and internet media,” they charged.

At the outset, Additional Solicitor General Parag Tripathi pointed out that one newspaper management had written to the Secretary, Labour Department, stating that the Cabinet might not take a decision on the issue till the petition was pending before the court. This move drew strong remarks from the Bench.

“It is very unfair on your part to write such a letter,” the Bench said, prompting senior counsel Fali Nariman and K K Venugopal representing the newspaper managements to immediately withdraw the letter.

The court also directed the Centre to file a comprehensive affidavit in the matter within four weeks and allowed the other parties to file their response two weeks after. The matter was posted for final disposal for December 7.

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